tv Globalization in the Pacific Northwest CSPAN December 23, 2015 4:24am-4:47am EST
the complications that you may have skirted a little bit in order to make it a little bit simpler, and that's the question about immigration and path to citizenship that of may spoke about the filipinos coming as nurses but they were h 2 a but were not on a path to citizenship. a lot of people who come with skills are not on a path to citizenship. in the case of the filipinos, they're legalized, and allowed to stay, but it's not the intent, so if you could sort of reconsider it a little bit, breaking apart those that come with the path to citizenship and which is largely brothers and sisters and those that come with skills that we're just borrowing from other countries. >> so i was on a recent academy panel that considered immigrant integration which did look at the legal basis for people
staying in the united states. and you're quite right to say that this is an oversight. because it's, in a lot of discussions of immigration, there's a connation of being foreign-born and being immigrant, but in fact, there's a sizable group of people who are foreign-born, residents of the united states, and they're not immigrants in the sense that they are on a path that leads eventually to citizenship. so there's a large number of people who are settled here on h h1b visas, and these are visas that are meant to bring in highly skilled, essentially technical workers. often they work in the i.t. industry. they can stay for supposedly up to six years two visas. many of them do try, of course, to get green cards and to stay permanently. we don't really understand very much about the kind of, the
experiences over the long run of the people who are coming on these non-permanent visas, even though they are really a very sizable group, probably 5% of the foreign-born, roughly are on non-permanent visas. >> and i talked about the bracero program ending in 1964. it started in '42. but in fact, the guest worker programs continue and actually diversify so that in addition the h 2 as and bs. they're using that designation to come and teach in schools probably some of the toughest teaching assignments in california. and their numbers actually outnumber the number of people who teach for america. so, you know, there are many, many different ways in which the
guest worker program continues, and these people don't have that pathway to citizenship. >> so i think we have to really ask, why do we have these guest worker programs. if there's work and there's a match between a person who can do that job and the job, why can't they just come and, they want to go home after a few years, that's fine. if they want to stay, why can't they stay? so there's this underlying assumption that is rarely challenged that we have to limit the number of immigrants that, on the path to citizenship, but that's a completely arbitrary number. that's set by congress, there's nothing magical about that number. so we have an arbitrary system where people come who want to use their knowledge, skills or muscles, and we don't welcome them or give them the choice to stay, and i think that's a really deep unfairness. and a lot of the industries where these, where the lower-skilled workers are used, their conditions are horrible.
you know, they're used in cutting the fast-growing pine trees that make paper in the south. and the beauty of these programs, the employers is that if somebody complains that they didn't get paid, they just send them back. or they don't renew your contract. so it's a way of really exploiting people outside the regular labor market. >> you're absolutely right. but i do want to point out a couple of things just to put it in perspective. so, first of all, while congress may set an absolute cap, as we know, that cap is ex-seaexceede because many people can come outside of these rules. if you are the close relative of a u.s. citizen, the parent, the child, you can migrate regardless of caps. so we take in about 1 million people a year now. it's much higher than the hart-celler cap. we have, by far, the largest
population of foreign-born, at least in the economically developed world. i mean, the common figures that's said is one of five immigrants lives in the united states, i suspect that ignores people in places like africa, who are crossing borders, because they're fleeing war or for other reasons, but nevertheless, you know, we take in a lot of people on a world-wide basis. and we should recognize that. i mean, we can't take everybody. obviously. so there, i think there's a great deal of unfairness. there's a lot of abuse. but, in some ways, maybe there's an inherent unfairness in immigration. >> next question on your right. >> hi, my name's dana frank. i wonder if we could talk some more about non-mexican latinos and to complicate this whole story.